But with it [colonisation] came all sorts of wonderful things, such as literacy, such as the freedoms and democracy that have come through… I think on balance it has, yes. –Paul Goldsmith
Waititi’s and Davidson’s ignorance of our history
By Bruce Moon
Well, Paul Goldsmith MP certainly stirred up a bit of a hornets’ nest with his comments on NZ colonisation!
We have had part-Maori MP, Rawiri Waititi dredging up the hoary tale of how the tribes “lost” all but 4% of the land they once owned when anybody less ignorant of our history than he appears to be knows well that most of the 96% was sold eagerly by the tribal chiefs in exchange for European goods which vastly improved the tribes’ standard of living. After all, pre-European Maoris were not even able to boil water!
Again, he speaks of their “language extinction” through “law”, ignorant again, it would appear, of the eagerness of most Maori parents in the colonial period to have English only as the language of “native schools”. And part-Maori Marama Davidson chimes in with similar ill-informed comments.
And pre-European Maori New Zealand?
Are Waititi and Davidson so ignorant that they do not know that slavery, female infanticide, cannibalism and continual tribal warfare were dominant features of the culture, that slaves were forced to accompany war parties as an immediately available food supply “on the hoof”?
The devastating Musket Wars
Do they not know that this culminated in the Musket Wars of 1807-1837 in which about one third of the Maori population was slaughtered and eaten by other Maoris, so much of the breeding stock being exterminated that the population declined in the early colonial period until extensive cross-breeding with the white colonials began to restore it?
Of course there was some culture shock to these Stone Age people so long isolated from the rest of the world, but better and more readily available food, clothing, housing, medical treatment and transport and cessation of the constant fear of attack by more powerful tribes surely meant that on balance, colonization brought tremendous benefits to them all.
Indeed, colonization saved the Maoris from themselves!
And so, Paul Goldsmith, show that you have a backbone, withdraw your apology and state again your reasonable and accurate original comments.